Saturday, May 22, 2010

Flowers, Fairytales and Folklore

Today I received a lovely surprise from a storytelling friend Georgy Rock.  She bestowed upon me The Sunshine Award. Not only did it make me smile but it gave me the idea to share some stories about flowers, who need the sun to grow, and more stories about the sun.

So thank you Georgy, not only for the award and ideas, but for the smile. We can never  have enough!

"Peace begins with a smile."
                                       ~Mother Teresa

Based on the Greek Myth - An original story and interpretation by Laura Strong, PhD

It was a beautiful day like all the others in this land, the sun shone brightly in the sky, the hills were lush and green, and flowers blossomed from the earth. The lovely young maiden, Persephone, frolicked with her friends upon the hillside, as her mother Demeter sat near by, and her father Zeus peered down from the sky above. Laughter could be heard in between the young girls' whispered secrets, as they gathered handfuls of purple crocuses, royal blue irises and sweet-smelling hyacinths.

Persephone thought to bring some to her mother, but was soon distracted by a vision of the most enchanting flower she had ever seen. It was a narcissus, the exact flower her father hoped that she would find. As she reached down to pluck it from its resting place, her feet began to tremble and the earth was split in two. Life for Persephone would never be the same again...Read the rest of the story here:


From the Grey Fairy Tale Book, collected by Andrew Lang

There was once a woman who had three daughters whom she loved very much. One day the eldest was walking in a water-meadow, when she saw a pink growing in the stream. She stooped to pick the flower, but her hand had scarcely touched it, when she vanished altogether. The next morning the second sister went out into the meadow, to see if she could find any traces of the lost girl, and as a branch of lovely roses lay trailing across her path, she bent down to move it away, and in so doing, could not resist plucking one of the roses. In a moment she too had disappeared. Wondering what could have become of her two sisters, the youngest followed in their footsteps, and fell a victim to a branch of delicious white jessamine. So the old woman was left without any daughters at all. Click here for the rest of the story:

From the Grey Fairy Tale Book, collected by Andrew Lang

There once lived a queen who ruled over the Flowery Isles, whose husband, to her extreme grief, died a few years after their marriage. On being left a widow she devoted herself almost entirely to the education of the tAvo charming princesses, her only children. The elder of them was so lovely that as she grew up her mother greatly feared she would excite the jealousy of the Queen of all the Isles, who prided herself on being the most beautiful woman in the world, and insisted on all rivals bowing before her charms.

In order the better to gratify her vanity she had urged the king, her husband, to make war on all the surround­ing islands, and as his greatest wish was to please her, the only conditions he imposed on any newly-conquered country was that each princess of every royal house should attend his court as soon as she was fifteen years old, and do homage to the transcendent beauty of his queen.

The Queen of the Flowery Isles, well aware of this law, was fully determined to present her daughter to the proud queen as soon as her fifteenth birthday was past. Click here for the rest of the story:

From Indian Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs

ONE day Sun, Moon, and Wind went out to dine with their uncle and aunts Thunder and Lightning. Their mother (one of the most distant Stars you see far up in the sky) waited alone for her children's return. Now both Sun and Wind were greedy and selfish. They enjoyed the great feast that had been prepared for them, without a thought of saving any of it to take home to their mother--but the gentle Moon did not forget her. Of every dainty dish that was brought round, she placed a small portion under one of her beautiful long finger-nails, that Star might also have a share in the treat.

On their return their mother, who had kept watch for them all night long with her little bright eye, said, "Well, children, what have you brought home for me?" Then Sun (who was eldest) said, "I have brought nothing home for you. I went out to enjoy myself with my friends--not to fetch a dinner for my mother!" And Wind said, "Neither have I brought anything home for you, mother. You could hardly expect me to bring a collection of good things for you, when I merely went out for my own pleasure." But Moon said, "Mother, fetch a plate, see what I. have brought you." And shaking her hands she showered down such a choice dinner as never was seen before... To read the rest of the story click here:

Flower Fables - From the gentle hand of Louisa May Alcott, nine lovely, short fables.

How the Sun Was Rescued - Siberia

Solar Folklore -

Sun Folklore - Activities, lesson plans and stories.

Why Cats Sit on the Doorway in the Sun - Romania adapted by storytellery Barry Eldrbarry


Cross-Curriculum Flower Activities - An Elementary Gardening Theme Unit

Spring Theme Activities for Young Children

Fast Facts on Persephone -

Flower Week Theme Lesson Plan

Early Childhood Sun Protection Curriculum


Enchanted Learning Flower Crafts

Flower Crafts for Kids

You Are My Sunshine Crafts for Kids

Karen Chace  2010 ©

This blog post was researched and compiled by Karen Chace. Permission for private use is granted. Distribution, either electronically or on paper is prohibited without my expressed written permission. For permission please contact me at Of course, if you wish to link to my blog via your website, blog, newsletter, Facebook page or Twitter please feel free to do so; I greatly appreciate your support and personal integrity.

A Storyteller's Summer Journey

Two weeks ago I was lucky to co-teach a workshop with storyteller/teaching artist Norah Dooley. It was the first in a series offered by Massmouth for those who are interested in the upcoming story slams and improving their telling skills.

There was an eclectic array of folks, from a teacher who shares storytelling Kamibishi style with her students, a lawyer, slam poet, other participants and Nabil, an MIT student is hitting the road this summer. He has planned a summer internship on storytelling and will be traveling across the country, ending in LA at the National Storytelling Conference.

It was obvious to both Norah and myself after Nabil took the stage to "slam" out his personal five minute story at the end of night that he has the gift!  Not only is he a natural storyteller but he pays attention! The day after the workshop Nabil posted this terrific blog entry about his experience and what he learned. Nabil has graciously given me permission to repost it.

If you are heading to the NSN Conference this summer, be sure to connect with Nabil. He is the real deal, genuine, interesting, interested and talented. Read his post below, he did a fantastic job of encapsulating much of what we discussed in the workshop.

7 Lessons from a Storytelling Workshop

This evening I attended a super helpful workshop in Boston, hosted by seasoned storytellers Norah Dooley and Karen Chace. In our workshop I, along with eight others, practiced storytelling technique and then performed, on stage and with a mic. Brilliant.

A few key lessons that I learned:
  • Shed my ego: To be a great storyteller I should realize that it’s not about me; I’m merely a conduit for the story itself. Once I realize this, and my ego subsides, I will connect with my story more deeply and so will my audience.
  • Don’t memorize: I need to see the imagery in my story in order for the audience to see it. This is easier to do when I’m making up the story as I go along, as opposed to reciting a memorized transcript.
  • Project confidence: If I appear nervous on stage, the audience will feel an urge to take care of me and will lose focus on the story itself.
  • Slow it down: There is a lag between when I speak a word and when it is processed by my audience. Allow my audience to process one image before moving on to the next one.
  • Kill my darlings: Superfluous narrative needs to go. No matter how beautiful it is, if it’s not the meat of the story, my words will lose my audience. We practiced this until 30 seconds felt longer than 60 seconds.
  • Recover gracefully (clever): If I accidentally omit a part of the story that is critical to understanding the ending, rather than saying, “I forgot to tell you something,” instead say: “but what you don’t know…” or, “what I haven’t told you yet…”
  • Take a moment: At the beginning and end of my performance, take a moment to connect with my audience. Starting too soon or leaving the stage too quickly will undermine the power of my story and might also slight my audience.
Among us was also a 10 year old girl. I was amazed at the ease with which she spun stories, and it reminded me that storytelling is less about learning a new craft and more about rediscovering an old one.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Naked Hearts at the Story Café

Naked Hearts
Featuring Eshu Bumpus
Motoko Dworkin
Saturday, June 26, 2010

Humor, music, love and desire intertwine as these two award winning storytellers weave tales that speak to the vulnerability of human hearts. Eshu's smooth, bluesy voice and Motoko's graceful movement will entice you to a journey of the ins and outs of romance.

A rare opportunity to hear two amazing award-winning storytellers in one evening! Eshu and Motoko shine up a storytelling event wherever they appear. Though diverse in style and culture, they blend and tell as one. Absolutely charming, they bring humor, a sense of drama, a talent for singing, and present a seamless performance.

ESHU - Eshu Bumpus captivates his audience by telling a variety of African, African-American and World folktales leavened with music, humor and mystery. He is a renowned storyteller, an accomplished jazz vocalist and a master at physical characterization. He has performed on the Exchange Place stage at the National Festival (1998), and performed 36 sold out shows in 13 days at the Smithsonian (1997). After appearing at the 10 Annual Connecticut Storytelling Festival (1991), Eshu was acclaimed as," … a fresh, responsible and knowledgeable voice... distinct and compelling... the hit of the Festival.

MOTOKO - Parents’ Choice Award-winning storyteller Motoko enchants audiences of every age with her weaving of ancient lore, original tales, lyrical movement and traditional music. Her repertoire includes Asian folktales, Zen tales, comical tales from rakugo (a Japanese traditional style of storytelling), funny mime vignettes, as well as personal stories from her childhood in Japan and her life as an immigrant in the U.S.

ADULT OPEN MIC: Sign up for your eight minute (maximum) turn at the mic beginning at 7:00 p.m. Share your own story, song, music, essay or poem.
TIME: 7:00 P.M. – 9:00 P.M. (Feature begins at 8:00 P.M.)
LOCATION: Artworks, 384 Acushnet Avenue, New Bedford, MA
ADMISSION: FREE (pass the hat for the featured performers)
AUDIENCE: 18 and older
For more information email Karen Chace at or call Artworks at
(508) 984-1588 For directions:

ArtWorks is right in the middle of the historic district of New Bedford. Come early and enjoy a beautiful spring day, have dinner, then join us for the perfect "night cap" at the Story Cafe!

City of New Bedford
Restaurant Information:
Parking: Elm Street Parking Garage and Custom House parking is within easy walking distance.